The Bordeaux-based empire that is Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) spans the wine spectrum. On one end there is wine for those who don’t have to think about what it costs, namely Château Lafite Rothschild, arguably the world’s most famous wine. On the other end there are wines such as Barons de Rothschild’s $10 Los Vascos brand from Chile.
Somewhere in the middle lies a collection of wines bottled under the Légende label, which represent solid values from the Bordeaux, Médoc, Saint-Émilion, and Pauillac appellations. The website describes these wines as “easy and pleasant to drink,” which, while true, is an oversimplification.
Take the 2015 Légende Pauillac, a blend of 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 30 percent Merlot from the storied Pauillac appellation, where three of the five “first growth” Bordeaux are produced, including Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Mouton Rothschild, and Château Latour.
At about $55, the Légende Pauillac costs a fraction of the price of these first growths but offers a lovely introduction to the appellation. The grapes are sourced from Lafite estates and from others in Pauillac, and 40 percent of the wine is aged in oak barrels.
This is classic Left Bank Bordeaux, a robust and elegant wine with signature blackberry and cranberry aromas and tastes, along with notes of tobacco, pencil shavings, orange peel, and spice.
Unlike California Cabernets and Merlots, with their typical big-fruit, high-alcohol profiles, this wine demonstrates what I love about Bordeaux, with its grace, complexity, and moderate alcohol of 12.5 percent.
If $50 will break the bank, try the 2016 Légende Bordeaux, a delicious, $18 blend of 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 40 percent Merlot.